Better Health, Evidence-based communication

Providing Evidence-Based Support for Getting COVID-19 Booster Shots

The holiday season is here. As a business owner, content marketing manager, or entrepreneur, this is your opportunity to reset — take stock of the past year’s events, and gather with friends and family to celebrate. But there’s a problem — you still have the COVID-19 pandemic to grapple with, especially with the onset of the delta and omicron variants. 

As every business owner knows now, you can’t run away from the pandemic. We know you may be feeling stressed from tackling daily issues rising from COVID-19. You may be wondering how to communicate evidence-based information to your employees, clients, or patients to keep them safe.

Wouldn’t you feel better if you got help? Even if you don’t know how to tell a good story, you can partner with a content company with the right resources to help you communicate the evidence and improve clarity about the subject.

Why Choose Evidence-Based Materials for Your Business?

You already know there’s a tremendous amount of medical misinformation and disinformation regarding the COVID-19 virus, especially about the effectiveness and potential side effects of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. With the advent of new, deadly virus variants, we must provide accurate, evidence-based content when encouraging the public to get their COVID booster shots. 

It’s not enough to persuade digital audiences with emotional or moral arguments; we must give them the science behind the recommendations. In medicine, evidence-based practice involves integrating the best available evidence with clinical knowledge and expertise. In medical writing, evidence-based writing uses the best available evidence to explain complex clinical practices while incorporating personal stories and interviews from experts.

In this article, we discuss answers to common questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine jab. We cover:

Why Get COVID-19 Booster Shots If I’m Already Vaccinated?

In the October article published by the American Medical Association (AMA), Dr. Rouhbakhsh says,

“What we have seen is that the efficacy of the vaccine diminishes over time, which is to be expected—all vaccines do to some degree.”

Scientific evidence shows that as time passes, the effect of a vaccine wanes. Just like microbes, the body eliminates them over time. The only thing that has staying power is the immunity your body builds from the vaccine (think memory T-cells). But while your body is building staying power, booster shots are great. The chart in Figure 1 shows the cumulative number of first doses/booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines given in the U.S. since September 24, 2021.

Figure 1. The cumulative number of first doses/booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines given in the U.S. since September 24, 2021. Source.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently changed its guidelines on COVID-19 booster vaccine shots. Previously, hospitals were reserving boosters for immunocompromised individuals only. Now, with the discovery of new variants around the world, the CDC has updated its recommendations to include boosters for any vaccinated individuals over the age of 18.

Those who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are eligible for a booster vaccine shot if it has been at least six months since the last dose in their primary series. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are eligible if it has been at least two months since their first dose. In the case of all three vaccines, any of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines can be used for the booster dose.

By nature, viruses evolve to stay alive. Because of this, there are often many variants of the same virus (think of the flu vaccine, which is different every year because influenza is constantly evolving into new variants). COVID-19 is no different. So far, there have been many variants, including the delta variant and, most recently, the omicron variant

The Omicron variant. Image: Creative Commons

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines are critical in reducing the severity of infection from any COVID-19 variants. According to statewide studies conducted throughout the United States, COVID-19 vaccines drastically reduce the chances of death from the virus and its variants. Finally, a nationwide study in Scotland showed that COVID-19 vaccines could prevent death from the virus by up to 90%.

While getting vaccinated with the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines can provide the most protection possible against the virus, it’s now recommended to also receive a booster shot, which can help protect against the COVID-19 Delta variant. Studies are still in the works for how effective vaccines are against the Omicron variant.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Clinical evidence shows that the three approved COVID-19 vaccines help people develop immunity to the virus and prevent them from getting seriously sick if exposed. This immunity takes place in the T-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte cells, which are defensive white blood cells. 

Once a small amount of the virus is introduced to the body, antibodies are produced in these cells. Then, these “memory cells” store the information about how to fight off the infection, remembering it as a code for the future. Vaccines from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna brands are considered mRNA vaccines, and they “contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus.” 

The Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine is considered a viral vector vaccine, meaning that it uses a modified version of a harmless virus that is similar to COVID-19, but not the same. This enters the muscles and produces a “spike protein,” which triggers the immune response in the body to produce antibodies. The process mimics what would happen if infected with the actual COVID-19 virus, and the body remembers this defense mechanism and replicates it later if infected with COVID-19.

How to Protect Yourself and Others This Winter Season

In addition to receiving any of the CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccines and their accompanying booster shots, you can also rest assured that it is safe and recommended to get a seasonal flu shot as well. With National Influenza Vaccination Week upon us, it’s an excellent time to make a flu shot appointment with your doctor or at your local pharmacy – especially if you have any chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. 

In fact, the CDC has deemed it perfectly acceptable to get both shots – a COVID vaccine and a flu vaccine – in the same visit to your doctor. However, you should prioritize getting the COVID vaccine as soon as possible if you have not yet been vaccinated.

Also, don’t forget to follow other CDC recommendations like washing your hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and staying away from people who don’t feel well.

How Health Prime Now Can Support Your Business with Evidence-Based Content

Are you a medical provider, business owner, or content marketing manager who needs help creating accurate medical content for your audience? Health Prime Now Medical Writing exists to fill the gap with high-quality, evidence-based health content. We work with experts in the medical field to produce content strategy plans, provide copywriting and editing services, and more. 

Together, we can reduce the amount of widespread misinformation and disinformation and help save lives.

Contact us today to explore how our team can help you with your digital content needs, including content related to COVID-19 and the efforts to vaccinate our global population.